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Collaboration: For 'Our Olly'

Birmingham County Football Association, Olly Wilkes Tournament & Anthony Nolan Collaborate

Birmingham County Football Association are excited to announce that we are collaborating with Simon Wilkes who leads on the annual Olly Wilkes Memorial Tournament which aims to support the UK based Charity, Anthony Nolan.

Matt Beveridge and Simon WilkesThe Anthony Nolan Charity aims to increase the number of people registered as a Stem Cell donor across the UK. There are currently 880,000 individuals nationwide that are signed up to the Stem Cell donor register.

The aim of Birmingham County Football Association and Simon Wilkes is to increase the number of individuals on the register across the West Midlands and Warwickshire using Grassroots Football as a stimulus for individual recruitment.

On the collaboration Simon Wilkes said “Words cannot explain the way I feel about the forthcoming collaboration with BCFA, regarding Stem Cell Donor recruitment for Anthony Nolan, When I said ‘The story will continue’ I never thought it would be within Grassroots Football. Let’s save some more lives, by getting people signed up, all dedicated to our Olly in Heaven."

Birmingham County Football Association will be in attendance on the 25th June at the Olly Wilkes Memorial Tournament to support with the recruitment in partnership with Anthony Nolan. Alongside this we have plans to work with our Grassroots Leagues and within our County Cup competitions to increase the number of Midlands based Donors.

To register with Anthony Nolan and to be placed on the Stem Cell Donor list, please CLICK HERE or scan the QR code at the bottom of this page.

When speaking to Simon about the event, he explained that the Wilkes family have been involved in Grassroots Football for 22 years, before tragedy struck in 2017 when their son Olly passed away. Their last day together as a family was at a charity event, 11 days prior to Olly's passing and they were raising funds for two chosen charities, MDS UK and Anthony Nolan. 

What has been an amazing story so far, and is set to be continued, began at the charity event where the family managed to encourage 22 16-30 year olds to sign up to the Anthony Nolan stem cell register. This helped the family make a decision to organise memorial events as a legacy to 'Our Olly' in heaven. The first Olly Wilkes Memorial Football Tournament was organised for 19 May 2018 and the family asked an Anthony Nolan recruitment team to attend which resulted in a further 52 people signing up to the stem cell register. 

Of those 52 individuals signed up on that day, 2 of them have since been found to be a match. Sam Astley (Sam off the telly) donated his bone marrow during Euro 2020 and Casey Mulhall is waiting to donate his cells very soon. Also, another match who is now entering a team into the 2022 Olly Wilkes Memorial Tournament, Ricky Cheema has donated his stem cells a remarkable 4 times. 

At the 2019 tournament, a further 18 signed up to the stem cell register before the events were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Simon finished by saying the interest in this years event has been amazing and he is totally overwhelmed by the support which he describes as 'unbelievable'. Simon would like to encourage everyone to watch Matt Beveridge, who has donated stem cells in May 2018, explain what it means to donate in this Anthony Nolan YouTube video:

To register with Anthony Nolan and to be placed on the Stem Cell Donor list, please scan this QR code, or click the link above.

Olly Wilkes QR Code

Further Information

Birmingham County FA caught up with three individuals who were found to be a match for someone in need of a transplant. They all spoke about the importance of the stem cell register and their experiences of donating. You can watch the video here: